Modesto Council Watch

The City Council on Tuesday:

  • Revised Modesto's municipal code to allow police officers to cite people on multiple code infractions on a single ticket. The change reflects a common practice for the Police Department that ended last year when the city attorney reviewed the code and determined that it didn't permit officers to write penalties for more than one code infraction on one ticket. The Bee obtained records showing that some people were charged $600 or more on animal control violations ranging from keeping an unlicensed pet to canine viciousness. Councilwoman Janice Keating asked the council to place a cap on fines for minor animal code infractions, such as letting a dog loose without a leash. The council opted instead to monitor charges for code infractions to see if any appeared excessive. It is working on stiffer penalties for dog attacks.

Vote: Unanimous

  • Agreed to take $84,300 in taxes from businesses on North McHenry Avenue that was held in a protest account. The businesses -- mainly Mistlin Honda -- complained that they were paying a city tax on revenues, but that their competitors did not have to pay. The businesses are outside the city limit, but they receive some city services. The vote means the companies won't have their taxes returned to them.
  • Aye: Brad Hawn, Dave Lopez, Keating, Garrad Marsh, Will O'Bryant, Jim Ridenour

    No: Kristin Olsen

  • Returned $5,860 to a construction company that was overcharged on city building fees.
  • Vote: 6-0. Hawn excused himself because of a conflict of interest.

  • Signed off on $525,714 in spending for new water and sewer employees in the Public Works Department. Most of the Public Works budget is paid for through monthly utility charges.
  • Vote: Unanimous

  • Hired FCS Group, a Washington company, to study Modesto's water rates and connection charges. The company can earn as much as $138,400 for its work. O'Bryant asked the city to provide updates on how it is spending money on water projects.
  • Vote: Unanimous

  • Accepted an agreement that allows a nonprofit group to manage the King-Kennedy Memorial Center. The city plans to shift most of its recreational programs there to other neighborhood centers in west Modesto. The Stanislaus Multicultural Community Health Coalition's West Modesto/King- Kennedy Collaborative wants to move into the King-Kennedy center.
  • Vote: Unanimous

  • Awarded Stockton's Don Lawley Co. a $58,800 contract to demolish the burned-out John Muir schoolhouse on Morris Avenue.
  • Vote: Unanimous

  • Agreed to spend $101,000 to install rubber sidewalks in city parks. Modesto got half of the money for the project from a state grant.
  • Vote: Unanimous

    -- Adam Ashton